Friday, October 18, 2013

Mathematics of love . . .

"Mathematics of Love" is the title poem of a collection by John Edwin Cohen (1941-2012), published in 2011 by Anaphora Literary Press and presented here with press permission.  Cohen has used mathematics playfully and does what a mathematician never dares to do, use a mathematical term with other than its precise meaning. Still, perhaps, even math folks may enjoy this application of geometric shape and poetic license!

Mathematics of Love     by John Edwin Cohen


       Engine of joy
       arithmetic and sincere
       holding the hemisphere
              and geometry of

       circles of air--
       tangents to everywhere
       landing in theory
              and igniting the 

       integers of stars

       like mirrors from mars
       invaders of laughter
              from eight to

       architect of toys

       construct of avenues
       for strutting in the nude
              imagine?  Only you 
              and, me . . .


               from the
long, light and love:


       of darkness--
in light's mathematics:

              Tall, lean

       acute of angle!
like lost first love.


from exponents of love
       her Z's and X's
                            marked no exit!
                            extreme &
       supreme:       shape-


                            angle of the first kiss,
                            X minus Y to the ninth
       power, again & again
                            whoever can solve her?

                                          A face whose algebras
                              and parables apparently
                 like lost apparel, fading

                                                 as if A plus B's

                                          less than was or
                                   may ever, ever be?

                                          I knew you, just as you

                            knew me, all my geometry
              x minus y, pleading as if

                                                 my hypotenuse
                                          falling in love
                                   with you--too breeZy?

                                          as how, now in cosine years

                            exponents traded for opponents
              Where are we?  Whose angle's tipping?

                                                 Who's sipping too
                                          many martinis--
                                   diagramming with zeroes?


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